All Elite Wrestling plans Wembley return after sold-out debut event

Saraya stands on the turnbuckle of the wrestling ring, wearing a green leather jacket. Her arms are outstretched as she interacts with the crowd
Image caption,Saraya was named Women’s Champion in AEW’s debut UK event

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has confirmed it will return to London after a successful debut UK event on Sunday.

More than 80,000 fans gathered at Wembley Stadium to watch pro-wrestlers including Saraya, MJF and Will Ospreay.

The event was a rare opportunity for British fans to see a live event of this size – the last major US wrestling show at Wembley was 1992’s Summerslam.

Co-founder Tony Khan said the event was a “huge milestone” for AEW, which was set up in 2019 as a rival to WWE.

American pro-wrestler MJF, real name Maxwell Friedman, is AEW’s top star and defended his Men’s Championship, defeating Adam Cole.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” MJF said after the event, speaking both of his own performance and the company.

Crowds gather for the All Elite Wrestling event in Wembley Stadium. The stadium is seen from a high angle looking across the majority of the venue. Fans are seated around the stadium which has a stage and a crowd in the middle. It is night time and red and yellow fireworks are being lit from the roof. The stadium is lit by purple-coloured lights.
Image caption,More than 80,000 tickets were sold for the Wembley event, which will return next year

Saraya, whose full name is Saraya Jade Bevis, grew up in Norfolk and claimed victory as the AEW Women’s Champion.

The 31-year-old and her wrestling family inspired the film Fighting With My Family.

“The fact that it’s Wembley Stadium in my home country, it was the most amazing experience of my whole life,” she said.

“I never thought I was going to wrestle again,” she added – after a neck injury left her out of the ring from 2018.

Saraya shocked fans last year when she left WWE, where she had performed under the name Paige, and joined rival AEW.

Tony Khan, co-founder of AEW, pictured on stage. Tony, a man in his 30s, has short curly dark hair and brown eyes. He is wearing green trousers and a black bomber jacket over a black T-shirt. In his left hand he is holding a microphone and is smiling off stage to the right of the camera.
Image caption,Tony Khan co-founded AEW as an alternative to WWE in 2019

The rivalry between the two organisations runs deep and Tony is keen to emphasise that the 81,035 tickets sold is more than the higher estimates of 80,000 when WWE, then WWF, brought Summerslam to the UK more than 30 years ago.

“This is the first time, on record, we could find any [event] that has sold over 81,000 tickets,” he says.

He confirmed the event would return to Wembley in 2024.

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